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Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream”
Makes 4 to 6 servings
5½ cups cubed butternut squash, (about 1 medium squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1½-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup raw cashews
2½ cups filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage or nondairy milk of your choice
4 to 6 basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the cubed squash, olive oil and Italian seasoning in a large bowl and toss gently until thoroughly coated. Arrange the squash in a single layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash is soft and slightly golden. Put the pan on a wire rack and sprinkle with the sea salt. Let the squash cool for 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the cashews and ½ cup water in a high-performance blending appliance and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer the cashew “cream” to a small bowl, leaving about 2 heaping tablespoons in the blender container. Add the cooled squash, coconut milk and 2 cups water to the cashew “cream” in the blender container and process until smooth, adding more water, about ¼ cup at a time, as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Pour the soup into a medium-sized saucepan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until heated through. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Using a small spoon, swirl about 1 tablespoon of the cashew “cream” into the top of each serving, in a pretty pattern. Garnish with a basil leaf. Serve piping hot.
Makes 10 to 12 Truffles
9 large Medjool dates, pitted
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup raw unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Line a small baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the dates, raisins, coconut and maple syrup in a high-performance blending appliance and process to the consistency of soft dough. Transfer the date mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Using a cookie scoop, spoon out a heaping tablespoon of the date mixture, and roll it into a ball. Continue in this manner to form 10 to 12 truffle balls.
Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until coated and place on the prepared sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, truffles will keep up to 3 days.
Walnut and Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 cup uncooked quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained
2 cups water
½ vegan bouillon cube
8 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
2/3 cup diced sweet red pepper
2/3 cup walnut halves, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup roasted and salted cashews, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning blend
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Basil sprigs, for garnish (optional)
Put the quinoa in a saucepan with the water and bouillon cube. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for 15 to 17 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with fork, remove from heat and let cool for 20 to 30 minutes (see note).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the mushrooms gill side up on the prepared pan. Drizzle ½ teaspoon olive oil and a dash of sea salt over the gills of each mushroom.
Put the cooled quinoa, sweet red pepper, walnuts, basil, cashews, garlic, capers, all-purpose seasoning, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir gently with a large spoon to combine. Put 1/3 heaping cup of the quinoa mixture into each mushroom, patting it down firmly as you go. Brush the top of the quinoa mixture on each mushroom with about ½ teaspoon olive oil, using a pastry brush or back of a small spoon.
Tent the mushrooms with foil. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.
Remove foil from the mushrooms and bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the stuffing gets slightly golden. Put the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Kale, Lime and Almond Salad
Makes 2 to 4 servings
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
5 cups packed, thinly sliced kale, thick stems removed
1/3 cup roasted or raw almonds (see note)
¼ cup raisins
Put all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk briskly to combine. Put all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour in the dressing and toss until well coated. To soften the kale leaves, use clean hands to “massage” the dressing into the kale for about 30 seconds. Let stand 5 minutes and serve. This salad can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 4 hours before serving.